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What are the Covid rules for skiing in Spain this winter?

The winter ski season in Spain is upon us, and with many more people travelling this holiday than last year, people will want to know how the latest Covid rules may impact their winter ski break. Here's everything you need to know.

skiing in Spain
Covid-19 rules for skiing in Spain. Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

The rules for skiing this winter largely depend on which region in Spain you plan on visiting, as each has implemented slightly different measures.

Currently, no ski resorts in Spain require the Digital Covid Certificate in order to gain access to them, but they may require them for certain activities within the ski resorts. 

READ ALSO: How to get Spain’s Covid health pass for daily affairs in your region

In Catalonia, the regional government requires a Digital Covid Certificate to access the interiors of bars and restaurants in ski resorts. Nightlife venues are currently closed. This will stay in place until at least January 20th.  

As per the Aragonese government rules, the ski stations in the Pyrenees in this region only request the Covid passport to attend celebrations in hotel and restaurant venues and mass events (more than 500 people gather in closed spaces or more than 1,000 in open spaces).

They also require them for après ski nightlife venues. These rules will stay in place until January 8th 2022, but may be extended if the courts grant permission. 

Currently, the Digital Covid Certificate is not necessary to ski in the Sierra Nevada, but it is necessary to access the restaurants and bars there.

READ ALSO – MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

Capacity restrictions 

Currently, there are no capacity restrictions, beyond what is normal, at any of Spain’s ski resorts. The capacity for chair and ski lifts also remains the same as normal. This is because the distance between the seats already complies with those established by the authorities, due to the space occupied by skis and snowboards.

The use of masks 

Mask rules are the same throughout Spain no matter which resort you’re visiting. Masks are again required outside when a distance between people can’t be maintained and at all times in closed spaces in ski resorts. 

This includes meeting points at ski schools, inside buildings, in public transport, bars and restaurants (when not eating or drinking), in the queue for the ski lifts and at the ski lifts, as well as at the lockers and equipment rental places. 

READ ALSO – KEY POINTS: What are the new Covid travel rules between Spain and the UK?

What if I cross the border into Andorra for skiing?

If you’re planning on heading up to Andorra for winter sports, you’ll find the rules slightly different there. The Government of Andorra has recently tightened its Covid measures and now requires a Covid pass in order to access all the facilities in its ski resorts.

Wearing a mask is also necessary for closed areas of ski resorts including the lifts, but not when actually skiing. Nightlife venues there have been closed and there is a capacity limit in restaurants of 50 percent indoors and 70 percent outdoors until further notice. A maximum of six can sit per table indoors and 10 on terraces.

Which ski resorts are open in Spain?

Baqueira Beret, Catalan Pyrenees
The resort opened on November 27th, 2021. Baqueira is scheduled to stay open until April 18th, 2022, while Beret ski resort is scheduled to close on March 27th.
La Molina – Masella, Catalan Pyrenees
These twin resorts, accessible on a day trip from Barcelona, opened on November 27th and are scheduled to stay open until April 18th, 2022. 
Formigal – Panticosa, Aragón
Aragón’s best ski resort opened on December 3rd and is scheduled to close on April 17th, 2022. 
San Isidro and Valle de Laciana-Leitariegos (Castilla y León)
These ski resorts opened on December 1st and if conditions allow, will close on April 17th, 2022.
Sierra Nevada, Andalusia
This beautiful ski resort near Granada opened to skiers on November 24th and is expected to close on April 18th, 2022. 
Grandvalira and Ordino Arcalís, Andorra
The Andorran ski resort of Grandvalira opened on December 3rd and will stay open until April 18th, whereas neighbouring Ordino Arcalís opened on November 27th and will close on April 24th, 2022. 

Travelling to Spain for skiing

All international arrivals by air or sea to Spain, regardless of where they’re from, have to fill in a health control form on the Spain Travel Health app or website before travelling. 

Travellers from EU countries can enter with their EU Digital Covid Certificates which indicate if they have been fully vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 or have a negative Covid-19 test. 

If you have not been vaccinated, whether you need to take a PCR or antigen test beforehand will depend on where you’re travelling from in the EU. 

Spain’s Health Ministry has a list of high-risk areas in the EU which it updates weekly. You can check the latest update here under “listado de países/zonas de riesgo”.

If your country or region is on the list, then you’ll need to get tested if you haven’t been fully vaccinated. 

Accepted tests include PCR or antigen tests, which have to be carried out within 72 or 48 hours respectively prior to your arrival in Spain.

If you’re travelling from a third country outside the EU, including the UK, you must be fully vaccinated in order to enter Spain (this includes everyone over the age of 12), unless you are travelling from a destination on the list of third countries whose travellers are exempt from the usual requirements (vaccination, testing) due to their favourable epidemiological situation. This does not apply to Spanish citizens and residents of Spain. 

If you’re travelling from a country on the Spanish Health Ministry’s high-risk list, then as well as your vaccination certificate, you will have to present a negative PCR or NAAT test taken within 72 hours prior to travel to Spain.

Those travelling from the UK for skiing in Spain, as of January 7th 2022, will also now not need a pre-departure test to travel back home, but they will still need to book a Day 2 PCR test. 

READ ALSO – KEY POINTS: What are the new Covid travel rules between Spain and the UK?

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EXPLAINED: Spain’s new rules for unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Unvaccinated third-country nationals such as Americans and Britons are now allowed to go on holiday to Spain. Here are the requirements, documentation needed and other important information they should know before booking their flights to Spain. 

EXPLAINED: Spain's new rules for unvaccinated non-EU tourists

What’s the latest?

Spain has opened up to unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen tourists for the first time in more than two years.

Previously it was not possible for third-country nationals to visit Spain for non-essential reasons such as a holiday, seeing family or spending time in a second home in Spain unless they were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (plus booster after 9 months) or recovered from the illness in the past six months. 

From May 21st 2022, unvaccinated tourists and other visitors from outside of the EU can travel to Spain if they show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, the Spanish government confirmed on Saturday. These are the same rules that apply to EU nationals and residents.

Spain’s testing requirements for non-EU/Schengen tourists apply to those aged 12 and older, children under that age are exempt from having to prove testing, vaccination or recovery.

What kind of Covid test do I need to get done to travel to Spain?

In scientific terms, Spain wants a diagnostic test that’s either a NAAT (nucleic acid amplification test, such as an RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, TMA) or a RAT (rapid antigen test).

In layman’s terms, that’s either a PCR test, which must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain, or an antigen test, 24 hours prior to departure.

Covid tests accepted are those authorised by the European Commission and must have been performed by healthcare professionals, therefore self-tests are not valid. 

What do I need to show to travel to Spain if I’m unvaccinated?

You need to show an official certificate or supporting document which shows the negative result of your Covid test. Your country may have a system in place that allows you to upload your negative result to an app. 

The document must be the original, in Spanish, English, French or German, and may be shown in paper or electronic format. If you can’t get it in these languages, it must be accompanied by a translation into Spanish by an official body.

The document that accredits the diagnostic test has to include the date the sample was taken, identification and contact details of the centre performing the analysis, technique used and negative result.

Spanish authorities recognise the UK’s NHS Covid Pass and others that fulfil the above criteria. 

Do I need to fill out a health control form?

This depends. Currently, 40 non-EU countries (and territories) have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate system, based on EU equivalence decisions. 

That means that people from these nations who have a vaccination, testing or recovery certificate issued by the competent authorities of their country do not need to fill in Spain’s Travel Health form.

The countries with EU Digital Covid Certificate equivalence are Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Benin, Cabo Verde, Colombia, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Indonesia, Israel, Iceland, Jordan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man), Uruguay, The Vatican and Vietnam.You can also double-check here in case more countries are added.

If your non-EU country isn’t on the list then you have to fill in the SPTH form and upload your test certificate, which gives you a QR Code you’ll be asked for at the airport. 

READ MORE: A step-by-step guide on how to fill out Spain’s Health Control Form

Do I have to wear a mask on the plane?

Yes, you will most likely be required to wear a mask on the planes to and from Spain, although you don’t have to wear one inside Spanish airports anymore.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s mask rules for travel?

Is there any other travel rule I need to know about?

If you’re not an EU citizen or resident, then you should check if you require a Schengen visa to travel to Spain, as this will depend on your nationality.

Keep in mind that you will also have to abide by other Schengen rules, such as not being able to spend more than 90 out of 180 days in Spain and other Schengen countries.

Does Spain still have domestic Covid-19 rules?

Spain has lifted the vast majority of its Covid-19 rules, so there are no longer curfews, forced closures, limits on the number of people per shop or restaurant or Covid pass requirements to gain entry to buildings. 

Masks are no longer required outdoors and there is no face covering mandate for the majority of indoor public settings, except for on public transport, in hospitals, pharmacies, other health clinics and care homes.

READ MORE: What happens when tourists get Covid-19 while on holiday in Spain?